The Case Of Sodium Sabotage - Penny Lane Blog at - 215634

Penny Lane

The Case of Sodium Sabotage 
Jan. 6, 2011 3:37 pm 
Updated: Dec. 29, 2012 2:02 am
With the beginning of a new year comes the resolve to eat healthier, lose weight, get more exercise.  All noble resolutions. 
There is one sure way to lose weight and that is to burn more calories than you consume.  Counting calories is great but for some it just isn't enough.  
I recently was having a conversation with a woman who  despite her best efforts could not loose weight.  We went over her cooking habits and I must say she was eating really well and walking daily - EXCEPT that due to her job she was required to eat out 4 or 5 times a week.   She would order soups & salad's and grilled fish or chicken....thinking she was picking the healthy food.
Could excess sodium in processed and restaurant foods be the real reason that those extra pounds are so hard to drop?    
The American Heart Assoc. recommends 1500mg of sodium a day.  The RDA is less than 2400 mg of sodium a day.  
Don't get me wrong - we do need some salt for proper blood clotting, proper heart function, muscle contraction and fluid balance.  The amount that the body actually needs is minuscule compared to the amount of sodium that we have become accustomed to.
Excess sodium causes high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, risk of coronary and kidney disease and increases the risk of stroke.   That said, let's take a look at some of the "healthy" restaurant meals that are being offered.
(Just as a side note - the meals I selected are all things I, myself would order.)
Applebee's is featuring a whole menu of meals that are less than 500 calories.  Sounds great doesn't it!
They offer a lunch menu where you can choose two items - the portions are small for restaurant fare but certainly a reasonable size for lunch.
Grilled Shrimp and Spinach Salad & a cup of Cream of Broccoli Soup. 
Total Calories 570 - not bad BUT the total sodium comes to 2430 mg. 
Grilled Shrimp and Island Rice - only 360 calories BUT it has 2290 mg of sodium. 
The Cheesecake Factory
Energy Breakfast -Scrambled egg whites, served with grill chicken breast, tomatoes, spinach and mushrooms.   640 Calories and 1260 mg of sodium.
Morning Quesadilla - Flour tortilla, scrambled eggs, bacon, peppers, onions, black beans, cilantro, cheese with sour cream, guacamole & salsa.  
2015 Calories and 4347 mg sodium.
These are just a couple of examples and I could go on and on.  To be honest, there isn't one restaurant that is worse or better than the others.  The processed foods in the supermarkets are certainly not any better.  Processed foods are loaded with sodium, period.   Did you know that a serving of Cheerios has more sodium than a serving of Ruffles potato chips? 
I suggest that along with a food journal listing Fat, Calories, Carbohydrates - keep track of Sodium as well.
Hidden Sodium
  • Sodium benzoate: prevents growth of bacteria
  • Sodium bicarbonate: baking soda
  • Sodium caseinate: thickener
  • Sodium citrate: controls acidity, stability
  • Sodium propionate: preservative, mold inhibitor
  • Sodium saccharin: artificial sweetener
  • Sodium nitrite/nitrate: curing agent
  • Sodium sulfite: preserves fruit
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG): flavor enhancer
  • Sodium phosphates: emulsifiers, stabilizers
  • Sodium lactate: prevents growth of bacteria

Sea Salt is still Sodium Sea salt is found in the form of fine or coarse grain, and according to its proponents contains more than a 100 minerals. Table salt---sodium chloride--- is obtained from the rock salt that is mined from mineral deposits. Due to the variations in their refining processes, both salts differ in taste and texture but the end product of both is still sodium chloride.

  If you slowly eliminate excess sodium from your diet your taste buds will adjust & you might just find yourself dropping those extra pounds ending up with a healthier YOU to boot!
Table Salt vs Sea Salt
The DASH diet
The American Heart Assoc.
The Mayo Clinic
Thanks to Bibi  The Omniheart Diet
Thanks to Mike The 10 Worst Foods of 2010
Thanks to Trisha  Make a Mix  & Make Your Own Groceries
Thanks to Peterd   Low Sodium Cooking
Jan. 6, 2011 3:53 pm
I've got nothing to add...thanks for sharing.
Jan. 6, 2011 3:54 pm
Great information, thank you! I have been watching my sugar imput now I can do sodium too
Jan. 6, 2011 3:56 pm
Sodium restriction will only get you so far in weight loss. I've had to go on a diuretic in the past & the wt. loss was just a few pounds then stabilized. I just calculated a 10 lb. wt. loss for myself (including activity, gender & age specifications) at and it gave me a caloric intake goal for loosing the weight. The calculator restricted me to 1,200 calories per DAY for 10 MONTHS! to lose the 10 pounds - far below the number of calories in just one of the breakfast quesadillas you posted!
Jan. 6, 2011 4:06 pm
Great research, Baking Nana! In addition to watching sodium, emphasizing potassium rich foods and decreasing saturated fat in the diet will help blood pressure go down. Then there is also that OTHER lovely thing, exercise. Weight lifting will lower serum cholesterol. At some point, good health needs to trump appetite. (sigh)
Jan. 6, 2011 4:12 pm
People do not realize that even a can of plain vegies has its share of sodium. Canned soups, and those 'soup to go' items are out of this world. I have never understood some of the TV chefs who season every layer of the dish they are making. We use lemon juice alot, and vinegar likes to wake food up, too. Mrs dash has lots of the same ingrediants that I use fresh, for flavor. Thank you for the informative blog!! Toni
Jan. 6, 2011 4:12 pm
VM - I am not saying that sodium restriction is the ONLY answer to weight loss but it is a key factor. I man I cook for was hospitalized a couple of years ago - with what they thought was asthma related symptoms - turns out it was congestive heart failure - they gave him a diuretic and he lost 25 lbs of fluid in 12 hours. All fluid that had been gathering around his heart of lungs. That is an extreme case BUT when you consider the ammount of sodium in ONE restaurant meal - well - it is no wonder that our bodies can't keep up.
Jan. 6, 2011 4:15 pm
Bibi - the addition of potassium rich foods is great info....I have done a LOT of research on this and debated how much to include. Good point and one I should not have passed over.
Jan. 6, 2011 4:16 pm
Toni Jo - Mrs Dash is awesome stuff. Thanks for posting.
Jan. 6, 2011 4:17 pm
A recent study released recently in the news here. Apparently in extreme efforts to cut back sodium in our diets, many now have an iron deficiency. Personally, I am preferring Sea Salt right now as I think much less gives more flavour.
Jan. 6, 2011 4:19 pm
ElCay - you are a carb counter and probably already knew this info regarding sodium. I didn't even begin to get into renal disease and kidney failure - which diabetics are prone to. Wouldn't it be nice to PREVENT these things instead of reacting to them.
Jan. 6, 2011 4:21 pm
Carrie - Sea Salt contains minerals that processed table salt does not BUT it is still sodium. I will have to do some research re: iron deficiency. Seems that would be more likely in a vegetarian diet. I will read up on it.
Jan. 6, 2011 4:24 pm
Nice blog, Baking Nana! My dad had congestive heart failure, too, and the diuretic did the same thing to him---an immediate loss of about 15 pounds. Amazing. He watched his salt intake, too. Costco sells Organic No-Salt Seasoning that is good. Problem is that it is such a huge container, and I don't use it that often! Thanks for your blog!
Jan. 6, 2011 4:24 pm
the body cannot keep up B'nana. Everytime they try to make a food better and eliminate one thing they raise another. Remember when everyone was eating "Light" calorie wise, calorie reduced, well they made great strides with lowering calories, but need to increase sodium or sugar. When they reduce sugar, they increase corn syrup-it's a circle.
Jan. 6, 2011 4:24 pm
OOPS!! Didn't catch my mistake until I read your reply "causes and iodine deficiency", NOT Iron!!!
Jan. 6, 2011 4:31 pm
we have a nutritionist answering questions every week. She says the amount of sugar in 1 can of pop is more than our intake should be all day. Think fingertips-she says 5mg per finger tip, 5 fingers= 25mg/day. A can of pop has 65mg of sugar??? What are we doing to ourselves?
Jan. 6, 2011 4:38 pm
Here is an article related to what we heard.
Jan. 6, 2011 4:38 pm
We've been fighting the sodium battle for a year and a half now - ever since my husband (49) had a heart attack w/quad bypass. I can't believe how ignorant we were! Watching Anne Burele (sp?) kills me with her constant "needs more seasoning" as she pours on handfuls of salt (almost as bad as Paula Dean and her butter lol). We rarely eat out anymore as it's virtually impossible to find a restaurant or fast food place with *reasonable* amounts of sodium. But that's okay - we're saving a bundle, and cooking together has brought us closer :) Great blog!
Jan. 6, 2011 4:43 pm
Marianne I will check out the No Salt seasoning at Costco. Thanks for your input.
Jan. 6, 2011 4:43 pm
Baking Nana, if you want more info on potassium, google the DASH diet. It's not a fad thing, but a legitimate medical study of hypertension and diet. :)
Jan. 6, 2011 4:45 pm
I just saw you did that already! There is another called the OMNI or Omniheart diet...
Jan. 6, 2011 4:47 pm
redneck gramma - you are so right. Low Fat doesn't mean "healthy" The South Beach Diet books make that very clear. They don't recommend "low fat" products as they must compensate with sugar and salt. It is better to eat a little of the 'real' thing than a lot of the chemically processed stuff.
Jan. 6, 2011 4:51 pm
Oh and redneck gramma - sodas are terrible in more ways than one....subject for another blog. :) One of the studies I read in doing the research for this blog was out of the UK - the more sodium a child eats the more soda they will drink - leading to childhood obesity and early onset type 2 diabetes. All very preventable.
Jan. 6, 2011 4:52 pm
Thanks Bibi - I will look into the Omniheart diet. The DASH diet makes sense to me.
Jan. 6, 2011 4:53 pm
We have been low or no sodium for many years yet we are still ingesting too much sodium. Unless we read the ingredients and the nutrition carefully we could wind up in big trouble. The big killer is MSG (Accent). You'll find it not only in canned and prepared foods and seasoning blends (especially barbecue and Cajun), but in all you can eat buffets and salad dressings in the salad bars because it is an appetite supressant and you won't eat as much.
Jan. 6, 2011 4:56 pm
Mike - the sodium list is long and scary. MSG is huge in take out chinese around here....I can't eat it - There are a couple of places that state no added MSG - that doesn't mean that the processed food that they purchase are without MSG.
Jan. 6, 2011 5:00 pm
Litegal1 - California has a restaurant disclosure policy - funny that the type is so small that you can barely read it. I - like you - would prefer to save a bundle and save a life - cook at home - eat non processed foods and even if I add some salt - I know what is going into my meals.
Jan. 6, 2011 5:02 pm
Carrie = "causes and iodine deficiency" now that makes sense to me - BUT it doesn't take a lot of iodine to satisfy the body AND there are many other sources of iodine.
Jan. 6, 2011 5:09 pm
All I can say is WOW! Great research! I know about some of the hidden names for salt and have pretty much eliminated stuff like MSG from my diet. Hubby likes canned veggies from time to time for convenience in the winter - I think I'll start buying the "no sodium" versions. Thanks again Baking Nana - your posts are always so helpful!
Jan. 6, 2011 5:11 pm
i just made this delightful bread
Jan. 6, 2011 5:13 pm
now im making pizza crust
Jan. 6, 2011 5:16 pm
7 other people in my family
Jan. 6, 2011 5:21 pm
ChrisW - canned veggies are handy BUT I do stock lots of frozen veggies. Mind you we are in California and fresh veggies are reasonably priced most of the time. I am glad you stopped in & am pleased to share a little info. :)
Jan. 6, 2011 5:23 pm
thecookster - I make all my own bread for our family and those of my clients. I won't get rich doing this but I do have the satisfaction or providing a healthy alternative to Wonder Bread. :)
Jan. 6, 2011 6:04 pm
Here's a place to go to find the ten worst foods, according to
Jan. 6, 2011 6:09 pm
My hubby is allergic to MSG ~ it makes him instantly severly conjested and he has great difficulty breathing. More and more all the time, he is getting this reaction, even tho we are being told there is no MSG in something. It always horrified us to see it in the supremarkets in China being sold in up to 50 pound sacks!!
Jan. 6, 2011 6:45 pm Here is a link about the omni-heart diet. :)
Jan. 6, 2011 6:55 pm
Because I rarely eat out or buy processed foods, I didn't pay attention to the harm it might be doing to others! WOW!
Jan. 6, 2011 7:19 pm
Thanks Bibi - added the link to the omniheart diet. :)
Jan. 6, 2011 7:24 pm
Thanks Mike like added! Yuck - Double Yuck!
Jan. 6, 2011 7:26 pm
Carrie - 50 pound sacks of MSG = be careful of foods from China. I have a few more horror stories along those lines - but they shall wait until another time.
Jan. 6, 2011 7:31 pm
sueb - you are either lucky or wise (or both) to avoid these processed "treats". WOW is the right word. Like WOW - how dumb are we for buying into this garbage. :( Sueb - in this part of the world you are the exception not the rule.
Jan. 6, 2011 8:13 pm
I'm in the choir loft:) Sugar, salt and fried. The 3 things that make our food tastes so good and the 3 things we need so little of! How much iodine do we need? Carrie's post made me curious. Great blog!
Jan. 6, 2011 8:15 pm
WOW Baking Nana, that is Amazing! I take it that the chicken in the Energy Breakfast is seasoned by them right? Why would they preseason it and put salt shakers on the table? Is it true that if you drink a lot of water you can dilute the salt in your system? Not sure if its true but if you think about it, it makes sense.Great Blog and Thank you soo much Lovey! oxoxoxox
Jan. 6, 2011 8:15 pm
Good question Cat - BRB.....
Jan. 6, 2011 8:23 pm
An adult needs 150 micrograms (.15 milligrams) of iodine each day. A pregnant or lactating woman needs 200 micrograms. Many people consider iodized salt as the main source of dietary iodine for the US population. Iodination of salt began in 1922 in response to endemic goiter in the upper Midwest. The campaign to promote "voluntary" use of iodized salt did solve the endemic. However, iodine is not only added to salt. Other sources of iodine in the American food supply include use of iodine products in processing of dairy products and breads as well as supplementation of beef and chicken, resulting in variable amounts of iodine in meat, eggs and milk. Can an individual get enough iodine from whole, unprocessed foods? YES!!! Here are the calculations. The RDA for sodium is 2400 milligrams, or 2.4 grams. (Most Americans ingest between 4 and 6 grams.) Celtic unprocessed salt is .000045% iodine. If you use 2.4 grams of Celtic salt daily you will get 108 micrograms of iodine daily. That is more than one-half the daily requirement for a pregnant or lactating woman (200), and more than two-thirds the daily requirement for other adults (150). The remainder of your daily requirement can easily come from kelp (more iodine than iodized salt) and seafood.
Jan. 6, 2011 8:35 pm
Patty = good question .... too much salt makes you thristy, right? ....and then you have to pee a lot - supposedly to rid yourself of the excess sodium. BUT there is only so much sodium that the kidneys can process - the rest is left in the blood stream. That is what leads to "water" weight gain, high blood pressure, congetive heart failure etc... So, a one time meal - high in sodium can easily be flushed from the body, the long term - constant onslaught of sodium can't and the body has to store the sodium rather than excrete it. Hence too much fluid = high blood pressure - too much fluid (congestive heart failure) and Kidney disease 9 working too hard to clear the system.
Jan. 6, 2011 9:31 pm
Thank you for the research on the "sodium" topic. I've copied the Hidden Sodium list for reference when shopping. You're always so informative. I learned something today. Thanks again Ba'Nana.
Jan. 6, 2011 9:35 pm
Good blog. My son found out he has high blood pressure.. he's only 32. The reason... DIET SODA according to his doctor. He is a Diet Pepsi drinker and it contains high amounts of Sodium Benzoate. My son is a health conscious eater.. as soon as he cut out the diet soda, his BP went down. Very scary.. thanks for posting.
Jan. 7, 2011 3:46 am
Excellent. Thank you.
Jan. 7, 2011 4:42 am
Thanks for stopping in Candice and I am glad that this blog helped bring some awareness to the issue of sodium over load.
Jan. 7, 2011 4:51 am
BellesAZ - Interesting about the Diet Soda. I am glad your son was able to kick the diet sodas. Thanks for stopping in and sharing that.
Jan. 7, 2011 5:02 am
I have always been very conscious of my sodium intake probably because I watched my grandmother throw out her elbow every meal shaking the salt onto her food. The salty taste never appealed to me so I always used as little as possible. I try to use things like lemon pepper or lemon juice to brighten up a recipe at the end. Thanks for the info
Jan. 7, 2011 5:09 am
Good morning Doug. Question for you - If you don't use a lot of salt in your own cooking, when you eat out in a restaurant does the food taste salty to you? Thanks for stopping in.
Jan. 7, 2011 5:28 am
yes it does - french fries at the diner just about kill me.
Jan. 7, 2011 5:45 am
I had grilled fish tacos the other night and just about choked on the first bite of fish. I ended up eating the tortilla and cabbage. I hated to have to disect my meal but YUCK - way too salty. :(
Jan. 7, 2011 6:10 am
very interesting info. I use this website: to help me keep track of the calories i consume but it also breaks down the components of the food - amounts of sodium, cholestreol, fats etc. Until I started using this site, I had no idea that I was consuming too much sodium almost every day! thanks for sharing.
Jan. 7, 2011 6:38 am is a great site GAHSMOMX3. I will add the link to the blog. You know what I found interesting as I was doing the research for this - there isn't a ton of information about the effect of these levels of sodium have on children. I am going to keep researching.
Jan. 7, 2011 6:50 am
Many of us love ham. Unfortunately, it is large ammounts of sodium. A buddy and I were talking about it so we did an unscientific experiment with it. We divide a slice of ham in two. We tasted the slice. Then the ham was put into a frying pan and tasted a few more time as it cooked. Of course, it was very salty when we ate the last of it. Fortunately, we had enough beer to keep our mouths rinsed and our guts flushed.
Jan. 7, 2011 6:59 am
Funny story Mike - I know a man who had real problems with kidney stones....his doctor told him to drink more beer. He said, "I don't drink any beer." The doctor replied, "Well, that's the problem! Most men want to hug me when I tell them that!"
Jan. 7, 2011 7:01 am
Oh - I want to add - I bought a Smithfield 25% less sodium ham at Christmas - it was really good. Still a lot of sodium but really tasty.
Jan. 7, 2011 7:07 am
We've boarded the lower-sodium bandwagon also! I've been reading labels and I'm stunned by the amount of salt in EVERYTHING! Making my own breads and pizza dough in my bread machine helps a lot. I use kosher salt-sparingly-and lots of salt-free herbs and spices (check out Penzeys new love!) Now that we've become adjusted to lower salt levels, restaurant foods (especially chinese) taste so much saltier now! We are also drifting away from as many processed foods as possible, the sodium levels being the biggest reason. I think most food manufacturers must be in cahoots with casket makers.......
Jan. 7, 2011 7:24 am
msntnkrbll - My husband LOVES Chinese food - I love it too but really can't handle the amount of sodium they use. When I make it at home I do use Low Sodium Soy sauce and it is still very salty but at least I can control how much I use. Even my hubby is starting to notice the difference.
Jan. 7, 2011 7:38 am
Very informative and note worthy! Thanks BN! I have slowly (much thanks to AR and the Buzzers!) begun to make most of my own spices, mixes, condiments as well as all breads and bakery items. Our salt intake has significantly been lowered as well as many artificial ingredients. I still have a few occasional "treats" but am slowly converting them over to healthier means. Great blog!
Jan. 7, 2011 8:08 am
BN, you've touched on a subject that's near and dear to my heart! Sodium is a hidden danger in so many foods and can be a killer. I avoid processed foods and check the sodium content of everything I buy. I use no-salt-added canned tomatoes, no-salt-added stocks and broths (don't let the claim reduced-sodium fool you, folks--it's still incredibly high in sodium!) I buy fresh fruits and veggies, and if I can't get fresh, I buy frozen. I do not buy canned. Sodium is hidden in practically everything. I make almost everything homemade and never pick up a salt shaker. We very rarely visit a restaurant, and we don't drink sodas. And you are so really will become accustomed to the reduction in salt, and the food tastes so much fresher and more vibrant. Great blog!
Jan. 7, 2011 8:34 am
Great blog! I've cut way back on sodium over the past few years. It just kills me when people automatically salt their food before even tasting it.
Jan. 7, 2011 8:50 am
This is a great blog. I would like to add my 2 cents. Be very careful with potassium when substituted for sodium. I had a very high potassium level in my blood and got VERY sick. I have several medical issues and have had to learn alot about eating habits. I balance my salt, carbs,fats,and calories. I have found that I can eat most moderation. Using different salts,herbs,and spices is helpful but is a learning experience. Label readung us a MUST. BellesAZ...congrats to your son but I have to make a correction. I have a diest Pepsi next to me. It is Potassium Benzoate,not sodium. The listed sodium content is 35 mg per can.
Jan. 7, 2011 9:04 am
I like the low sodium soy sauce.. I try not to use more than I normally would.. but it's very good. Also, check out the sodium levels of your favorite dishes at PF Chang's. My hubby and I love eating there, but there are three days worth of the recommended sodium intake in some of those dishes. Geez! I am not a ham eater, but if I were, I'd still have it. We are moderate eaters and don't overdo much of anything (by choice, this does not come naturally!) but by doing so, we don't have to stop enjoying life - we just do so moderately. I hear what Doug is saying.. after you've cut back on sodium, you really can taste it in things you eat. Even odd things like salted butter.. ewww.
Jan. 7, 2011 9:06 am
Very informative blog! I rarely think about my salt intake as we eat pretty healthily and rarely eat out, but your blog has highlighted that I should at least have some idea of how much salt I am consuming, even indirectly, like bouillon cubes, soy sauce, etc. At the school where I work, I noticed that the cook doesn't use salt- we have only 2-6 year olds, but I am getting used to the taste. My husband loves salt in everything, so I notice a big difference from my lunch at school and his cooking!
Jan. 7, 2011 9:16 am
If your friend is eating at Applebees and the Cheesecake Factory, she is probably eating too many calories. The greatest cause for discrepancies in diets and weight loss are that people under-report their calories. I have never seen a light meal conducive to portion control at the Cheesecake Factory. Also if one is truly eating healthily (meaning no excess cheese and salad dressing) and exercising regularly I find it difficult to understand how one can overdose on salt. When I exercise vigorously I find I have to supplement my diet with more salts to recover electrolytes. No one should eat a diet unusually high in sodium, but grilled fish is not a danger to this rule of thumb. Rather than scrambling to look for Na+ substitutes, people should try to eat healthier, with more lemon, and they should use less condiments, preservatives, frying etc.
Jan. 7, 2011 10:34 am
xiaojie - I beg to differ....example: Applebees Weight Watchers® Cajun Lime Tilapia 310 calories and 2160 mg sodium. So yes - grilled fish can be a sodium dense meal. As I said she walks daily but she isn't an athlete - eats moderate portions of very healthy food. She only has about 10 lbs to loose. Unfortunately - eating out is part of her business. You are right that most people not accounting for all the calories and they don't get enough exercise - cutting back on the sodium sure couldn't hurt. You are right about the portions at the Cheesecake Factory - unfortunately this is the trend in most restaurants.
Jan. 7, 2011 10:37 am
rachmaree - interesting that the school you work at doesn't use salt. I can imagine that this is intentional and progressive. I am going to check the school lunch menu at my grandkids school. Thanks for the input.
Jan. 7, 2011 10:47 am
gerksgram - thanks for your comments. Salt substitutes are contraindicated with many health conditions and medications. From the Cleveland Clinic website. - Many salt substitutes contain potassium chloride in place of sodium chloride. Potassium consumed in excess may be harmful for some people. For example, many persons with kidney problems are unable to rid their bodies of excessive potassium, which could result in a deadly situation. If you have kidney problems or are on medication for your heart, kidneys or liver, it is best to check with your physician before using salt substitutes in place of sodium.
Jan. 7, 2011 10:53 am
Nurse Ellen - it was one of those people who automatically reach for the salt shaker that really got me going on this. I watched my SIL's mother make Posole - she took the lid off the salt shaker and poured it into the soup. Then SIL comes along - doesn't even taste and soup and starts shaking in more salt. I just about had a heart attack watching this - so it got me thinking. BTW - SIL's mom is a diabetic with high blood pressure. She just doesn't get it.
Jan. 7, 2011 10:55 am
What's for dinner, mom? AR and the folks on the Buzz have helped me too...I love hearing about a new spice blend or a way to make a "processed" food from scratch. It is never too late to learn something new! Thanks for stopping in.
Jan. 7, 2011 11:02 am
wisweetp - you are so right about hidden sodium. DH came home from Sam's club with a bag of frozen (raw) chicken. That chicken contains 250 mg of sodium per 4 oz serving. He had no idea that it was anything other than chicken. Lesson learned - either teach No Baking PaPa to read a label or go shopping myself! :)
Jan. 7, 2011 1:09 pm
Oh, yes, chicken is a sneaky one! If I buy chicken, I want to see only one ingredient not this tiny little statement that says it contains flavor enhancers, i.e. salt and chicken broth. I buy all my chicken from my local health foods store or the farmer's market when it's in season. Turkey is another sneaky one. I suppose, in general, the American palate has reached a state in which food doesn't taste good unless it's full of salt, and in many cases, sugar, too. I have to hand it to my DH...he's become a fantastic label reader! : )
Jan. 7, 2011 1:33 pm
Thanks for the answer. I knew about the goiters and that was why salt was iodized. As always you have given us "food" for thought!
Jan. 7, 2011 1:53 pm
The sugar in soda is not the only bad thing. I read an article that carbonated water of any sort does a number on your bones. I had cut down a little on soda trying to lose some belly fat. I was a Cokeaholic and HAD to have my daily Coke (usually a large during Sonic's Happy Hour)but quit cold turkey after the bone info; drinking tea now.
Jan. 7, 2011 2:40 pm
I count myself lucky that I had to learn to cook flavorful, saltfree food 30+ years ago for my Dad's health. We lost the taste for salt and I learned about herbs and spices. Adding a squeeze of lemon or lime juice and a sprinkle of vinegar boosts and brighens flavor. We rarely go out to eat because we so often find the food too salty. I too am amazed at the amount of salt TV chefs use regularly. Very informative blog - thanks for sharing your research.
Jan. 7, 2011 4:21 pm
There is no doubt that salt enhances flavors.. but do you really need your water to "taste like the ocean" as Rachel Ray suggests as she's dumping in a handful of salt to her boiling water for pasta? BTW, check to see how much sodium is coming into your home via water softeners and consider switching to another pellet that does not contain sodium. Some of the older softeners allow much more sodium into the water than the new models do.
Jan. 7, 2011 4:28 pm
BN, too much potassium is called Hyperkalemia and it's not at all uncommon. However, salt substitutes are only one cause - much of the time it involves medications, hormone deficiencies, kidney disease and is quite common among alcoholics. If you're female and menopausal, you should always have your potassium levels checked. You can help regulate your potassium IF you are hyperkalemic, but you need to see a physician to determine your levels. Interesting to note that foods like milk, bananas, carrots and fish (along with many more) are taboo if you are trying to reduce your potassium.. you can eat good for you foods like blueberries and cranberries as well - they help flush out high levels. Hyperkalemia can often times be controlled through foods, drinking lots of water and getting regular moderate exercise. My acupuncturist treats it in her practice too.. with great success.
Jan. 7, 2011 5:59 pm
When I buy condiments, herbs and spices I date the packaging. I recently threw out an (finally) empty box of salt dated almost twenty years ago. By using herbs, spices, fruits, juices, seeds and nuts I achieve great flavuor with no added salt. I used to have a mother in law (now my "outlaw") who insisted that salt be added to all roasts and vegetables, and sugar to all fruits, to "release the nutrients". Don't fall for this stuff - it is near impossible to consume too little salt if you live in North America. Question: (1) Why is it that "no-salt-added" foods (such as canned tomatoes) cost more than the heavily salted versions? (2)There is a simple way to lobby against grocery chains who produce store brands that are ridiculously high in sodium, such as pasta sauce that provides 1/3 of our daily requirement in 1/2 cup of sauce.. Read the labels, folks, and vote with your wallets!! I have a cookbook coming out in the spring: "Today's Special: How to Turn Your Own Fridge into a Delectable, Healthy, "Fast Food" Outlet". It details a program for cooking in bulk once a week, with minimal salt, fat and sugar, and no preservatives, to provide great meals from the fridge that can be ready in 5-10 minutes. Anyone interested?
Jan. 7, 2011 8:15 pm
Bigshotsmom - although my father had HBP we didn't adjust our diet - my older bro is type 1 diabetic and we did grow up eating his healthy diet - like you I am thankful for that.
Jan. 7, 2011 8:20 pm
Belles - I am not a doctor or a nutritionist - and I would not venture to advise people on their medical conditions beyond what I know - personally. Personally, I do know that Potassium Cloride is not a good choice for anyone without a doctors recommendation.
Jan. 7, 2011 8:21 pm
Noni - no doubt about it - soda is bad! In so many ways.
Jan. 7, 2011 8:23 pm
SAVOURY - please let us know when your cookbook is ready. Sounds great. In the mean time - why don't you create a Allrecipes profile and join us on the Recipe Buzz. I, personally would like your input. :) Thanks for stopping in.
Jan. 7, 2011 11:08 pm
Indeed, salt and water weight can go hand in hand. And the amount of salt in processed and packaged foods is off-the-charts ridiculous. I remember someone saying that salt is something that we have become accustomed or addicted to, as in it isn't something we naturally crave in the large quantities we consume nowadays. We have to train ourselves away from it, using less and less and instead using more and more herbs +/or spices to flavor our foods. A little salt does help enhance flavors of a dish, but a little bit should go a long way. Great post and great comments!
Jan. 8, 2011 12:16 am
Man, that's the trouble, though. It's so hard to get used to things when they don't have salt. Salt really does enhance many flavors you might otherwise miss. It doesn't just make things salty. It adds DEPTH to flavor. I realized this when I first tried to cut back on my sodium intake. I stopped using salt in my cooking, and everything just tasted bland and awful. Salt is really the soul of flavor. That being said, I do think it's important that people reduce their salt intake. All I'm saying is that it's no easy adjustment, gradual or otherwise.
Jan. 8, 2011 6:24 am
Ella - it is a hard transition. I, personally, would rather start with fresh food and add my own flavorings, including a small bit of salt. An example of adjusting to less salt - my hubby loves nuts, he would always buy salted nuts. Then we started getting lightly salted nuts. He was good with that. Then I start buying unsalted roasted nuts and mixing them with the lightly salted. Now he eats unsalted roasted nuts and loves them. Gradual change has been the key here - instead of "cold turkey" NO SALT. Just eliminating processed foods helps enormously. Good luck to you.
Jan. 8, 2011 6:27 am
Lissa - I agree a little salt can go a long way. Funny how you hear people say, "Ah, it's just water weight." Like water weight doesn't count. What isn't widely recognized is that "water weight" is dangerous - it places a strain on the heart, lungs and kidneys. Thanks for stopping in and for your comments.
Jan. 8, 2011 7:09 am
Your blogs are always so informative and fun to read! I just read your comment about sodium leading to more soda consumption and in the past, when I've eaten fast food I would almost NEED a soda just to cut the aftertaste. I thought it was just me but I guess not! On a sidenote, I took a class called survey of disease several years ago and the teacher told us the carbonation in soda causes osteoperosis. With my first pregnancy I started to develop symptoms of toxemia at 6 months so they had me cut out salt completely. I was so puffy and cutting out the salt along with a week of bedrest brought my blood pressure way back down. Thank you for all this wonderful info Baking Nana!
Jan. 8, 2011 8:22 am
VWill - Thanks so very much for your kind comments. I gave up sodas a long time ago - for many reasons but the biggest was for the reason you stated. Phosphoric acid, which is unique to colas is the problem not carbonation. There are plenty of good reasons to quit a regular soda habit; carbonation isn’t one of them. In fact, sparkling mineral waters sometimes contain a little calcium and magnesium so they might even benefit bones. But beware - some Club Soda does contain sodium where as others do not. Thanks for stopping in. :)
Jan. 8, 2011 8:27 am
I wanted to add - my eldest daughter had problems with toxemia with her first pregnancy - she had developed a taste for those .99 cent chicken sandwiches from Jack in the Box. Her BP was dangerously high to the point that she was hospitalized. Eliminating FF & processed foods solved the problem for her. Scary stuff.
Jan. 8, 2011 9:51 am
I wanted to thank you for sharing your information on sodium issues. My husband is of average weight and after a recent visit to the doctors discovered his blood pressure was rather high. His response was well I eat healthy and go to Subway for lunch. After some research we discovered his toasted ham and cheese contained his entire sodium for the day. Subway the healthier choice? Obviously not. It is scary to discover how much sodium there is in everything we eat. We are now planning meals to suit his needs and working to lower the BP. Yet again, thanks for bringing this subject to light.
Jan. 8, 2011 10:12 am
Vicksta - Now that is interesting! I would have ventured to guess that ham and cheese are both high sodium add mustard, olives and pickles and it really bumps up the sodium. Then I checked the nutrition guide for Subway and it isn't just the ham and cheese that is high sodium. So - what does he take for lunch? Obviously eating out ANY WHERE isn't going to cut it.
Jan. 8, 2011 3:03 pm
Great information, Ba'Nana! The Organic No-Salt Seasoning for Costco that Marianne mentioned is really good - I love it on my morning eggs (= (We use a LOT of seasoned salt in my family - Gramma used to make it. My cousins and uncle keep a shaker on the table with the regular salt and pepper . . . ) So, off the label from Costco (all organic, except the citric acid): onion,garlic, carrot, black pepper, red bell pepper, tomato granules, orange peel, parsley, bay leaves, thyme, basil, celery, lemon peel, oregano, savory, mustard see, cumin, marjoram, coriander, cayenne pepper, citric acid, rosemary . . .
Jan. 8, 2011 3:05 pm
Thanks for the list, I'm usually trying to pay attention to the word sodium because I have poor circulation in my legs and I blow up when I have too much. Knowing not just what they are there for but why (thickener, bacteria fighters) definitely helps.
Jan. 8, 2011 3:51 pm
Thanks Barb - that is an impressive list of herbs and spices! I will get some next trip to Costco! I can't wait to try it.
Jan. 8, 2011 4:03 pm
MelMel - poor circulation + sodium can be a HUGE problem. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Good luck to you. :)
Jan. 8, 2011 6:54 pm
WOW! Such a good response to this topic. I've been cooking low sodium for about 25 years. My husband was diagnosed with kidney disease & he had high BP. The transition to low sodium was done gradually and nobody in the family seemed to notice. I have two cookbooks to recommend to help you with sodium control. Make-a-Mix and Make Your Own Groceries. You can have control over the sodium in your food! Also, as a home health nurse, I frequently do diet teaching to patients with a new diagnosis (usually cardiac or renal diagnoses). Don't fool around with potassium unless you are ABSOLUTELY sure you know what you're doing!!! Too much or too little potassium are equally dangerous to cardiac function and can potentially be life threatening. TRICIA
Jan. 8, 2011 7:47 pm
To compensate for the lower calories, the sodium content is increased to improve the taste. If you have high BP, you are probably better off watching your sodium than the calories. Very difficult to do for those of us who try to watch both. Better to aim for REAL food, nothing processed, boxed or from a restaurant.
Jan. 8, 2011 7:53 pm
Thanks for your input Trish! You have had a LOT more experience with low sodium diets than I have. If you don't mind I will add the cookbooks you suggested to the blog. Good information and resources! As for the potassium issue - I agree - in fact, I screen my clients for allergies and medical conditions. I have had clients say - "No, we have no health issues." Only to find out that Mr. is taking heart meds. The hardest thing I run into is when I have a better grasp on the dietary needs of a client than they do. Like the diabetic woman who was told to eat 5 servings of fruit & veggies a day and proceded to eat Peaches packed in heavy syrup and canned corn - 5 time a day. She went from Type 2 to Type 1 and became insulin dependent -ultimately she died of congestive heart failure. :(
Jan. 8, 2011 8:06 pm
kt - I whole heartedly agree - But the focus is on calories and fat - sugar content come a distant third and then carbs - way down the list is sodium. REAL food is the answer! But in this Drive Thru society - REAL food is rare.
Jan. 8, 2011 8:29 pm
I have found that when I cook all my meals I do not retain water. However, when I eat out more than one meal a week I can easily gain 16 pounds in just water.
Jan. 8, 2011 8:41 pm
Lady01Love - that is a LOT of water retention for one meal out!
Jan. 8, 2011 10:40 pm
Thank you all for all the advice! I have been cooking with no salt for about 20 years now, due to water retention. I agree, that eating out can make a person gain alot of water weight fast! I can put on 3-4 lbs in a day and go back on my regular salt free diet and lose it in a day! My dr put me on potasium chloride for leg and finger cramping as I am on Lasix. I started with water pills at 16 y/o for menst. cramps. I am now 58 and my present dr is afraid to take me off of the Lasix at this point in life. I get my blood checked every 3 months. I am an avid label reader, as I am also glueten sensitive. Any advice would be appreciated! Thank you all again!
Jan. 8, 2011 11:10 pm
Thanks for putting this info out there for more people to see. Most people don't think about how much sodium is in what they eat until they're diagnosed with high blood pressure. Don't forget condiments, like ketchup, mustard, salad dressing, etc. Most of these are high in sodium. And every processed vegetarian food I've checked out is loaded with sodium as well. Several years ago I started making all of my own food from scratch starting out with raw, unprocessed ingredients. Now most boxed foods from the grocery store and food from restaurants taste like a salt lick to me. It's amazing just how much our society has become accustomed to the salty, over-processed "products" that pass for food these days. Sadly, this adaption is reflected in a lot of recipes on this site. I've seen some recipes here with well over 2,000 mg of sodium per serving, and one lasagna that called for a tablespoon of salt to be added in addition to other salty ingredients. The more people are made aware of just how much sodium they're taking in the better.
Jan. 9, 2011 4:02 am
I have had to watch my sodium intake for a long time now, and one thing that REALLY bugs me is people touting certain things as healthy, when they are not all all. For over 40 years I have head self-stykled diatitions saying to use herbs etc instead of salt. That is good advice, IF you know which herbs to use. One thing they say to substitute for salt in foods ia to use celery and tomatoes. The reason tomatoes and celery make food taste well seasoned without adding salt is, THEY ARE BOTH LOADED WITH SODIUM!!! All I have to do is eat a little too much celery or tomato ( both of which I love), and my legs swell up like balloons and my blood pressure shoots up. My doctor said this. There is no such thing as low sodium salt. Salt is sodium, that is the chemical name for it, and low sodium salt is somethng besides salt. Any time you change something about the way you prepare your food, you become adjusted to thise new tastes. You can do that with both salt and sugar. Drink unsweetened tea for awhile, and you will learn to love it. Eat less salt, and you will get used to it, and things made the way you ate them before will not taste good to you, because they will be too salty. We all need to eat less processed foods, and pay more attention to our eating habits.
Jan. 9, 2011 6:25 am
Research using control groups has shown that hIgh levels of salt intake raise blood pressure in very few people. Unless one has a blodd pressure problem, high salt intake is NOT harmful. Additionally, research across cultures has shown that the average daily sodium intake in cuisines across the world is almost EXACTLY THE SAME. Many scientists believe that the human body takes in the the sodium it needs and craves naturally, and the current obesity epidemic is due to salt restriction, because the body will eat more food until its natural sodium craving is reached. restricting salt is an unhealthy waste of time for those without blood pressure problems.
Jan. 9, 2011 8:55 am
i have become disgusted when i read that meats are labeled "all natural" but when you look at the package you read about the percentage of salt solution that has been added. "all natural" should mean that nothing has been added. the meat departments of grocery stores are almost always full of meats that have this. i can always taste the salt that has been added because i have tried to eat as little salt as possible for a great many years.
Jan. 9, 2011 9:27 am
Thanks for a great subject. I have liver problems and for me a low sodium diet helps keep me functioning. I was shocked when I realized the 'real' sodium levels we ingest.
Jan. 9, 2011 10:01 am
I was recently put on a diuretic for blood pressure control which "spares" potassium I have to avoid all high potassium foods as well as avoiding sodium. Always check your medications carefully. There was no notice on my pill bottle. I find I can eat out if I avoid soups and sauces. For Asian flavors at home I rely on garlic, ginger, hot chili oil and sesame oil. I also eat fairly low carb and use shirataki noodles which I "dry fry" first when I was recently put on a diuretic for blood pressure control which "spares" potassium I have to avoid all high potassium foods as well as avoiding sodium. Always check your medications carefully. There was no notice on my pill bottle. I find I can eat out if I avoid soups and sauces. For Asian flavors at home I rely on garlic, ginger, hot chili oil and sesame oil. I also eat fairly low carb and use shirataki noodles which I "dry fry" first without any oil to dry them out and let them absorb my "sauce". I made Singapore Noodles the other night and my husband shocked me when he said it tasted as good as at our favorite restaurant except not as salty!
Jan. 9, 2011 2:06 pm
Wow! Lots of great comments - thank you all. I am only going to address a couple of things - first- yes there is some sodium in celery and tomatoes - 1/2 cup of raw celery has about 54mg of sodium - a 4oz tomato has only 11 mg of sodium - hardly what I would consider "loaded".
Jan. 9, 2011 2:10 pm
Another little piece of information - Weight of 1 US Gallon of water = approx. 8.35 lb - So if you are carrying around 8 lbs of water weight - think of it as a GALLON of water - 25lbs of water weight is about 3 gallons of extra fluid in your blood stream. That for me is an amazing visual image.
Jan. 9, 2011 2:13 pm
i have lost 30lbs slowly in one year just by the assistance of hbp meds and using unsalted butter and keeping my sodium intake to less than 1500 per was not easy but it has been working...i drink lots of family hates fresh or frozen veggies unfortunatly and they gag everytime i i get the no salt added canned and i rinse them really good in hot water before i use them...still has the mushy texture they like and lower salt for i have gotten our meat from a meatmarket rather than the store....i can see them cutting up the meat right there...i also stopped eating beef and pork...granted once a month i have beef or pork to make the men in the family feel like they are getting something "normal" chicken isnt the healthiest either but i'm not a huge fish fan...we dont' drink soda at all because i get kidney stones from it...and a white rue with unsalted butter, flour and 1%milk is great on lots of things rather than adding tons of sauces and cheese...if you have someone that likes spicey food and uses hotsauce have them try horseradish instead...its spicey hot but has almost 3times less salt than hotsauce...i could go on but i'm more interested in what you all are writing!
Jan. 9, 2011 2:19 pm
sailshonan - I really don't know where to start. I don't believe for a minute "the current obesity epidemic is due to salt restriction,..." Have you seen the amount of sodium in fast food, frozen and packaged processed foods? I am not sure if it really qualifies as "food". Fat, white flour and sugar - little to no exercise - chemicals and other man madee junk is the cause of obesity in the western world. I would be interested to read the research you quote.
Jan. 9, 2011 2:34 pm
casey - congratulations on the weight loss and getting your BP under control! I, personally, HATE canned veggies - but I didn't grow up eating them. Like someone said - water is the best beverage. You don't see animals complaining that they don't want water! For spicy I use chili flakes in a lot of things. Thanks for stopping in.
Jan. 9, 2011 2:39 pm
I need to go back and see who it was that said, "being told to use spices and herbs - but we to know how to use them." I couldn't agree more! Someone who knows herbs should do a blog on them - how to grow them, harvest them and USE them.
Jan. 9, 2011 2:53 pm
With Congestive Heart Failure sodium control becomes critical. My cardiologist has me on a max of 1200 mg/day and that means "cook everything from scratch". Good, in my case since I used to do some commercial cooking and like to cook. As the disease progresses and the heart gets less able to discharge the required volume, sodium tracking is even more critical. I asked him about salt substitutes and his response was "Don't even think about it!!!" Many are loaded with potassium and as several have mentioned this throws the Na/K ratio for a loop. Two years ago my wife and I joined Weight Watchers and don't let anyone tell you it doesn't work. I've lost 48 and my wife 30. Same cardiologist told me last year this had done more to help my heart than all the medicines I take daily. The secret is portion control and I mean weigh or measure everything you can and dish out portions by 1/2 and 1 cup measuring cups. WW has a set of serving spoons in these quantities and has been our salvation. One of our WW friends has it right when she says "Bite it, write it" meaning write everything down that goes into your mouth. The downside of sodium control is forget about restaurant food. We've been on sodium restriction for over 15 years and at this point, it's a way of life. Took about 2 weeks to adjust our tastes and when we have company, the salt box is on the table. :-)
Jan. 9, 2011 3:06 pm
Baking nana-- Here is a good site that provides links and references to actual studies that are skeptical of the harms of sodium. Also, check out the Wiki entry on MSG. Almost every study shows that MSG has is safe, and that people who think they are allergic actually are allergic less than 1% of the time. Also, like I mentioned, cuisines all over the world average the same amount of salt. Hardly a coincidence. Also, reduction of salt intake can be harmful for some individuals because, like evrything else, people react differently to different conditions and environments. My earlier post is unclear about the obesity epidemic--restriction of salt is only ONE of the factors in obesity. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the biggest feactors for the increasing obesity of Americans include such surprising factors as indoor climate control, and the decrease in smoking. (Not only does smoking suppress the appetite, but smoking a pack a day is the equivalent of spending 30 minutes on a stairmaster every day)
Jan. 9, 2011 3:06 pm
Jan. 9, 2011 3:45 pm
sailshonan - thanks for that link - I am going to read it tonight before I comment.
Jan. 9, 2011 3:54 pm
peteFL - I have worked with several people who have had Congestive Heart Failure....basically like you said, they had to learn to cook or not survive. Lucky for you that you already loved to cook - I am sure that it made the transition easier. Do you use more herbs etc... One woman I am thinking of could operate a can opener - that's about it! She never did learn and ultimately it was her demise. She wasn't willing to change. What is that saying? "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink."
Jan. 9, 2011 4:32 pm
Jan. 9, 2011 4:37 pm
10 piece "chicken" McNuggets = 5.6 oz - 460 calories 260 calories from fat - 1000 mg of sodium. This is without the fries etc.
Jan. 9, 2011 4:44 pm
Chicken McNugget - Chicken McNuggets®: Chicken, water, salt, sodium phosphates. Battered and breaded with: bleached wheat flour, water, wheat flour, food starch-modified, salt, spices, wheat gluten, paprika, dextrose, yeast, garlic powder, partially hydrogenated soybean oil and cottonseed oil with mono -and diglycerides, leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, baking soda, ammonium bicarbonate, monocalcium phosphate), natural flavor (plant source) with extractives of paprika. Prepared in vegetable oil (Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness). Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent. CONTAINS: WHEAT
Jan. 9, 2011 6:49 pm
Salt has no calories, however high consumption of salt may result in temporary weight gain because of retained water. A low-salt diet may result in weight loss but, it can be dangerous for the elderly, who may easily become dehydrated, dizzy and weak. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology warns that pregnant women should avoid low-salt diets. Pregnant women who restrict salt have an increased risk of having a stillborn or low-birth-weight baby.
Jan. 9, 2011 7:36 pm
bern - I don't think anyone suggested that salt has CALORIES - and for some - with HBP or impaired kidney or liver function (unable to clear excess sodium) it can be terribly dangerous. People who are prone to Congestive Heart Failure - the "water weight" isn't "temporary". I am not advocating a Low Salt Diet - I am advocating a Normal (2400 mg daily) diet, when ONE (not 3) restaurant meal = more than 2400 mg sodium we have a problem! When a baby's first taste of potatoes comes via a salty french fry - there is a problem. There is a reason that baby food has no salt added - nobody talks about that. Oh - and when a pregnant woman gains 5 - 10 pounds of "water weight" in one month - there is a problem.
Jan. 9, 2011 7:41 pm
From the ACOG - Sodium, or salt, is linked to the risk of high blood pressure. Typically, the more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure gets. That means that salt should be used in small amounts—usually not more than 1 teaspoonful a day. Choose and prepare foods with little salt. At the same time, eat potassium-rich foods, such as orange vegetables. Potassium may help lower your blood pressure. Check the salt content of a product by looking on its food label. Different brands of similar products may contain different amounts of salt. Try to choose the brand that is lower in salt.
Jan. 9, 2011 8:51 pm
Thanks for the great info! We are going to be changing some of our eating habits and now I know what else to watch out for!
Jan. 9, 2011 8:53 pm
FYI - One level U.S. teaspoonful of granulated evaporated salt contains approximately 2,400 mg sodium.
Jan. 9, 2011 8:58 pm
Thanks for stopping in Marika's Mom! (BTW - she is a cutie!) Cooking at home from non processed foods is the healthiest and most budget friendly way to go. Takes a bit of planning but it is well worth it!
Jan. 10, 2011 5:07 am
WOW, took an interesting turn there? I for one, like the effect salt has on most foods. Because I try to eat less processed foods and rarely eat out, I don't have to be concerned with my salt intake. I also am very fortunate that I do not have a health issue that requires me to restrict salt? That being said, everyone is different and needs to make those decision based on their own preferences but most importantly on their own health issues. Study after study after study will say "XX is bad for you" "XX is good for you" Replace XX with salt, sugar or anything else you can come up with. That's why information like what you have shared is great for everyone to take "with a grain of salt" (pardon the pun-lol) and do what is best for you and yours. Thanks B'Nana for sharing and caring as you always do. BE Well my friends!!!!
Jan. 10, 2011 6:12 am
Good morning Grams. You are correct, there are no hard fast rules. Awareness is a good thing. Knowledge is power. It is my hope that people will take what they need from all this information and leave the rest. Food for thought. :)
Jan. 10, 2011 7:41 am
I know this blog posting is about sodium, but I am completely baffled by the calories presented for these meals! In my book, a meal of 500 calories and over is simply unacceptable for anyone (unless it is a special occasion :) ). 2000 calories is an inaccurate measurement of the number of calories needed per day as suggested on the nutrition facts on the back of a soda bottle. Even with this 2000 calorie measurement, most people forget drinks, snacks, and probably a lack of exercise, which add up. (Protein and granola bars usually have over 200 calories, and lattes... Sometimes it is worth it to just give in and eat the Snickers!) This is my suggestion: Two egg whites have 60 calories, a tomato at most has 60 calories, and spinach and mushrooms have so few calories it is not even worth counting. As a vegetarian, I have absolutely no idea how many calories are in grilled chicken so I cannot vouch for it BUT there is no excuse that this meal (energy breakfast) should have over 500 calories, and it can easily be altered so that you can be certain that it doesn't. If you are worried about your weight, cut the butter/oil, bread, OR chicken (I only slash the meat because I do not know its calorie content, and eggs already have protein). In this case, eating a healthy, low-calorie breakfast is extremely simple. I have low blood pressure so I am lucky enough that I don't have to worry about sodium, but I seriously recommend she rethink the meals ordered, and alter them if necessary (cooks and waiters usually do not mind). Eating four meals is actually good for your metabolism.
Jan. 10, 2011 8:40 am
Good info, Baking Nana! My husband suffers from RLS(Restless Leg Syndrome) and we are trying a VERY low sodium diet to see if that helps his RLS. We are trying to keep our daily sodium intake between 600-700 mg PER DAY...and it's HARD to do, let me tell you! Salt/sodium is so hidden in some food items, you really have to read those nutrition labels. And fresh is definitely how we are cooking now. Yesterday, I actually made spaghetti sauce from scratch...first time ever and it was pretty good, if I do say so myself! One good thing...sugar cookies with unsalted butter (and only 1 egg) have only about 2 mg of sodium in each one...MY FAVORITE!!! Kellie
Jan. 10, 2011 8:41 am
Oops...forgot to add...we started this LOW sodium diet on Jan 1st, and so far I have lost 6 lbs and hubbie has lost TEN!! Kellie
Jan. 10, 2011 9:29 am
Just want to add my two cents and point out that for some of us salt is necessary - I'm SUPPOSED to be eating at least FOUR GRAMS a day on doctor's orders, and it is really tough to do that when I don't really like or eat junk food! We make all of our meals pretty much from scratch at home, so now I eat pickles each morning and have tried to find a "healthier" tortilla chip that I can snack on daily to meet my salt requirement. I mean, I like pickles, but eating them everyday is another matter altogether!
Jan. 10, 2011 1:03 pm
We drastically cut the sodium in our family's diet because of possible heart issues with my husband. I buy no salt added veggies when I need the canned ones, and I read the sodium content on every label. I rarely use salt to flavor foods anymore, except for a pinch or two here and there. I didn't change any other part of my diet, but when we dropped the sodium content, I also dropped an entire pant size. If I need additional iodine, I can get that in a supplement, so there's no real health reason to use salt either. Of course, that doesn't mean I'll turn down a crispy piece of bacon or some salty fries, but a girl has to have a little fun. :)
Jan. 10, 2011 1:11 pm
I have been living with CHF for about 10 years now. I enjoy cooking and have found many ways to flavor food without salt. I can now prepare 3 meals a day and stay in the 500-600 mgm of sodium per day. My test is to see if company adds salt to the food or not. Remember that 1500 mgm of sodium per day is maximum recommended for a middle aged adult with a healthy heart. I used to spend a lot of time checking labels, but have got a lot of it figured out now. Watch out for sneaky places like fresh chicken, etc. being injected with salt water to add weight and flavor. Merle Schell has some great cooking books for low-sodium cooking.
Jan. 10, 2011 1:33 pm
Sodium is bad bad bad. Not only does it lead to high blood pressure but it definitely inhibits weight loss since it causes you to retain water (which is how it raises your blood pressure in the first place). Sometimes I forget about hidden sodium--thanks! It's remarkably hard to stick to a low-sodium diet or even just to stay around the maximum level on the typical North American diet.
Jan. 10, 2011 1:46 pm
My mother raised me on a low-salt diet. So when I started cooking, I would "rebel" by adding salt for flavor. But I've since discovered the flavoring powers of things like garlic powder, and black pepper.
Jan. 10, 2011 1:56 pm
If you are looking to cut salt in your diet, watch cream soups in recipes. If you have time, substitute a medium-thick white sauce--it isn't difficult to make, and you don't have to add salt. Otherwise, some brands of soups have a reduced-sodium variety. (Even those have high sodium though.)
Jan. 10, 2011 3:36 pm
An interesting news letter with a good recipe archive is Dick does a good job and tries to keep things fresh.
Jan. 10, 2011 4:42 pm
Bakng Nana, thanks for taking time to share a very interesting, well-discussed blog. Much good/useful information being exchanged, shared by lots of good people. Thanks to everyone for the "food for thought"!!
Jan. 10, 2011 5:34 pm
Food for thought! Thanks for sharing!
Jan. 10, 2011 7:38 pm
So many great comments! Gee - where to begin! Peterd - thanks for that link! There is always room for more ideas and inspiration! Thank you. BTW - I really commend you for being able to use 500 - 600 mg of sodium a day! Good job!
Jan. 10, 2011 7:40 pm
STEPHANISAT - thank you for your comments! A pant size is awesome. Good job. Keep up the good work!
Jan. 10, 2011 7:43 pm
montkl = I would be very interested to see if the low sodium diet helps with the RLS. Did his doctor recommend this approach? BTW - good job on the weight loss!
Jan. 10, 2011 7:48 pm
sambeagle & peterd - that "All Natural Chicken" that has been injected with an "18% Solution" is just wrong. Thanks for your comments.
Jan. 10, 2011 7:57 pm
DarkAngel - your are very much the exception to the rule! Needing MORE sodium and not liking it. You mentioned pickles - also olives, cheese, condiments like ketchup and mustard. Salted nuts or even lightly salted nuts could be good snacks. I wish you luck.
Kate's Kitchen 
Jan. 10, 2011 8:11 pm
Great post -- I just stumbled on this blog for the first time. I've been on the sodium-lowering bandwagon for at least 5 years now (needed to lower husband's blood pressure) and read labels like a fiend. I thought I'd share a few staples in my kitchen: For homemade spaghetti sauce, Pomi chopped tomatoes (come in a box, not can) have just 60 mg sodium for the WHOLE BOX and make a great sub for canned tomatoes. For a jarred spaghetti sauce, Dave's Gourmet Organic Roasted Garlic and Sweet Basil pasta sauce has 180 mg sodium per half cup. I have looked everywhere, and it's the lowest I've found that still tastes good. Tastes GREAT, but pricey as heck and you'll have to go to a high-end market to get it. For stir fries, check out Annie Chun's shitake soy ginger stir fry sauce. One tablespoon has 180 mg sodium. Compare that to 575 for a reduced sodium soy sauce. Made a stir fry with chicken breast and fresh vegs the other night and added 3 tablespoons of the stuff and a little raw honey. That's 540 mg sodium for the whole stir fry -- and it made a good 3-4 servings. Husband LOVED it. Also great to just put a tsp or two on rice instead of soy sauce. (Note: not all Annie Chun products are low sodium and some are high, so check labels) Cadia canned organic black beans are 125 mg sodium per half cup and are quite delicious. Finally, a friend gave me some Celtic sea salt, and while I use it very sparingly, the label says 1/4 teaspoon is 330 mg sodium, vs. I think like 575 for table salt. Sorry to go on and on but wanted to share what I've learned in case it helps someone else out there! This topic is close to my heart (no pun intended!).
Jan. 10, 2011 8:43 pm
Kate - Great information! Thank You! "Dave's Gourmet Organic Roasted Garlic and Sweet Basil pasta sauce has 180 mg sodium per half cup" Compare that to Prego Heart Smart - at 360 mg per half cup! You are right - reading labels is key. Thanks for posting! Great information.
Kate's Kitchen 
Jan. 10, 2011 9:27 pm
Actually, Nana, I just re-checked the jar in my fridge, and the Dave's Gourmet sauce is 125 mg per half cup, so even better than I thought!
Jan. 10, 2011 10:14 pm
Kate - I sure wish we had a "Like" button on these blogs. I would "Like" your post! I will look for that brand!
Jan. 11, 2011 6:54 am
Baking Nana, Regarding the low sodium/RLS possible connection, we actually found this info by researching RLS on the web. We are desperate to find a “fix” for hubbie’s Restless Leg Syndrome and his doc said it’s ok to try it. The web book and our doctor did say it could take up to 4 weeks to notice any difference in the RLS, so we are going to keep the sodium to between 500-600 mg per day for awhile. We actually started on Jan 2nd…had to have those lucky black-eyed peas (with lots of ham) on New Year’s Day (southern tradition)!! Kind of ironic…I have low blood pressure and doc told me to INCREASE my salt!!! Thank you, Kate’s Kitchen, for the info on the low sodium products…we will have to try the Annie Chun’s stir fry sauce! Kellie
Jan. 11, 2011 7:44 am
"Fifteen Worse Health-Diet Myths" By the "Eat This, Not That" guy. Myth #5 debunks the salt myth. As I mentioned before, a lot of salt is perfectly healthy for normal blood pressure individuals. Salt is not a demon! It is necessary for the body and tastes good to boot.
Jan. 11, 2011 7:45 am
I meant "Worst"
Jan. 11, 2011 9:15 am
Nana, I love your nutritional blogs. I just discovered two recipes that makes it easier to cook instead of taking the easy way out. Taco Soup and Turkey Broccoli Roll-ups. It is fun to take the eat at home challenge.
Jan. 11, 2011 9:15 am
You are inspiring..thank you
Jan. 11, 2011 9:32 am
Sailshonan - I read the link you listed.....the way I read this is that it isn't just too much salt that causes HBP but the lack of nutritional potassium in combination with excess sodium. I believe this to be true for people who haven't already developed HBP and coronary disease. However, I would NEVER suggest to anyone who has HBP or Congestive Heart Failure to tamper with Potassium supplements. Eating a healthy well rounded diet 'rich in a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and legumes, spinach, broccoli, bananas, white potatoes, and most types of beans each contain more than 400 mg potassium per serving.' Again - I am not advocating a NO sodium diet - I am advocating that we need to become more aware of the nutritional void that processed "food" creates.
Jan. 11, 2011 9:44 am
I just checked some labels - interesting that the only "processed" food I found in my cabinet that listed Potassium was the salted peanuts. 1 oz = 170 calories, 115 mg sodium and 200 mg potassium. Interesting - thanks for helping me to dig deeper. Great food for thought.
Jan. 11, 2011 9:49 am
Maureen - thanks for your comments. It is nice to have a 'list' of go to meals that are fast, easy and healthy (or at least healthier) than Fast Food.
Jan. 11, 2011 9:59 am
It is true that Cheerios has more sodium than a serving of ruffles, but please tell me the last time one of you ate a 1 oz serving of potato chips? And with 10g of fat, I would hardly call the slightly lower sodium content to be a reason to choose chips over cheerios for snack time. Lowering sodium is a great goal, but please everyone remember to keep things in balance and context!
Jan. 11, 2011 10:25 am
Red - you make a good point - most people would not eat 1 oz of chips and Cheerios do have a LOT more healthy nutrition going for them. My point really was - we don't think about Cheerios as being salty - but there is sodium in them. I am not saying eat chips not Cheerios. I am saying sodium is present in almost all processed food. - Cheerios - serving size 1 cup - Calories 110 - Sodium 200 mg VS Ruffles - serving size 1 oz - Calories 160, Sodium 160 mg.
Jan. 11, 2011 10:34 am
I never cook with salt, and we don't miss it! (BTW, I'm in my 30's). When my husband was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, he had to go on a no-iodine diet and it's almost impossible to cook with anything prepackages that contains salt. We couldn't escape it! I don't have a salt shaker, and have never had a complaint from dinner guests about my food. Flavors shine through in healthy cooking!
Jan. 11, 2011 12:15 pm
jrbaker - I hope your husband is doing well. No wonder you are a from scratch cook. :) Thanks for stopping in.
Jan. 11, 2011 1:10 pm
This is a great blog and brings up a great point. Americans consume way too much salt! I took a nutritional class and I was the only person who didn't go over their recommended sodium intake, out of a class of about 30 people! Weaning yourself off of salt is difficult because the more you consume, the more your taste buds will tolerate it and you'll just keep adding more to get your sodium fix. The way I avoid this is by not adding salt to most things I cook. I get enough from the few processed foods that I eat.
Jan. 11, 2011 1:54 pm
Thanks for posting! I've been keeping an eye out on my sodium intake since trying The Rice Diet a couple years ago. It's amazing how much better I feel and money I've saved trying to stick to eating more fruits and vegetables and whole grains.
Jan. 11, 2011 2:37 pm
Great blog! I rarely add salt to the food I cook, but I will definitely think about the sodium in the foods I order when eating out. Thanks for an informative and helpful post!
Jan. 11, 2011 2:45 pm
Ehh, the problem with salt arises when people eat too much processed foods, which just about every does. These foods contain LOW quality refined salt, this is not healthy in any dose. Eating out is a challenge too because of course restaurants use salt too and probably use far too much (they also often include msg in hamburgers and use it on meat dishes to make the meat taste 'better'. It's also in every sauce that is not homemade at the restaurant). Mineral sea salt is fine and actually good for you in the proper amount, eating too little salt can be bad for your health! In a perfect world, people would eat processed that food companies salt to death so it will taste good. In a perfect world, people would salt their food to taste with natural mineral sea salt, as needed. Just so ya'll know, the new anti salt craze is just going to usher in a whole new wave of msg-like flavor additives, so when you are picking up your cans of low salt soups and eating your low salt chips, keep in mind that they are replacing that salt with other scary stuff (and they don't always have to include these things in the label, msg often is a hidden ingredient under many different names- including the ubiquitous 'natural flavor' and 'spices'). I hope those with heart issues are cutting out all refined vegetable oils as well as refined salt.
Jan. 11, 2011 4:30 pm
flatcake23 you bring up some very good points with regards to salt, oils and labels. I am ashamed to say that I used to own a fast food restaurant and I know the sodium content, absolutely sickening....Since I sold I may average once every 3 months having a meal brought in or out in a restaurant. I make everything from scratch and I can control the oils and sodium. I didn't eat in our restaurant that often; I did notice how often my staff would eat it and I would even bring in veggies and fruit for them to have on their breaks instead of always eating the fast food. I can't say I am proud of owning or having had to promote that industry. I certainly make no bones about it now, and my advice to anyone would be to stay away from fast food, processed foods and invest in some cooking classes. You will save money, your waistline and possibly your life.
Jan. 11, 2011 6:57 pm
flatcake23 & Janet - you are so right - Processed "food" is the problem! From Fast Food or the grocery store - if it's processed it is a problem. Low Fat = more sugar, less sodium = more chemicals. You should not have to have a degree in chemistry to read a nutrition label! Leave that junk on the shelves of the Supermarkets to rot ( for a year or two or three) and the 'they' will get the message.
Jan. 11, 2011 8:43 pm
Thanks for the great blog baking Nana! Believe it or not, I read through all of the posts~ it is so interesting! As a healthcare professional, I have had an interest in all things diet-related for a long time, and excess sodium in processed and restaurant foods just drives me crazy! When my two girls, ages 8 & 12, and I eat out on the rare occasion, we often don't like our meals (too salty, not enough nice or satisfying flavors coming through, etc.) A lot of times it further becomes an unpleasant experience for my one daughter and me because we can get so incredibly thirsty after a non-homemade meal that we wake up repeatedly at night to drink water. And then of course I feel like a water-logged blimp the next day. Ahh.. good times! ; ) My husband on the other hand doesn't complain about the salt because, despite my gentle requests to not eat lunch out so much for his health, I believe that he is "addicted" to the salty, flavor-enhanced, greasy, fast food taste of his youth- just like millions of other people. (He claims this not to be the case, but it is sooo apparent.) I do think it is true what some researchers have said, that people can get a fast food high and have trouble kicking the habit. Of course the food industry doesn't mind repeat customers!!! I know I am now slightly off topic, but you got me going! Thanks again!
Jan. 11, 2011 9:10 pm
When you go out to eat, tell the waiter to tell the chef that you don't want salt in your dish. Most likely they can accommodate you.
Kate's Kitchen 
Jan. 11, 2011 9:23 pm
I, too, have wondered about companies eventually replacing salt with msg-like chemicals. But just because something is low sodium doesn't mean it's ALWAYS been replaced by something artificial. I found all those products I listed just by picking up things in the store and checking labels. Not one was advertised as "low-sodium" or "heart healthy" and all have minimal ingredients. Meanwhile, Nana, flatcake23, janet, etc., I agree: Processed food is the root of the problem! There's no getting around it: you have to cook, and you have to cook using fresh ingredients. At first, my motivation for cooking (I had to learn to cook) was health and saving money. What surprised me was that I actually prefer my own meals to going out now! They taste better and afterward, I feel like I've eaten real food, which I have!!!
Jan. 12, 2011 3:12 am
I just reread through this excellent exchange. RE "SODA POP" W/PHOSPHORIC ACID, DIET AND REGULAR: Several years ago, a good friend was in a car accident. Her knees and leg bones were severely damaged when they hit the dash. She was a devoted walker, ate healthy foods, but had a weight issue, and thought she was helping by drinking only diet sodas. Her doctor told her she had made her bones brittle by drinking so much diet soda, containing PHOSPHORIC ACID, which had stripped her bones of calcium/strength. She thought she was helping control a weight issue! READ the labels on soda, if you, OR ANYONE IN YOUR FAMILY, consume any. Some contains citric acid,(ok) some phosphoric acid (bad). Better yet, stick to having/ordering iced tea or water with lemon when needing a cold drink. For carbonation, stay with safe ones, as suggested in prior discussion. (FYI, diet sweeteners (toxins) are now known to encourage weight retention b/c the body doesn't recognize them as food. Stevia, an all-natural sweetener, is a good sub. Honey is the only sweetener avail. in its completely natural state (not processed in some way before using). Thanks again, everyone, for enjoyable, informative sharing!!
Jan. 12, 2011 5:21 am
Being on a low sodium diet, eating out is ALMOST
Jan. 12, 2011 5:25 am
Being on a low sodium diet, it is impossible to eat out in restaurants. I feel as I am stuck in a diner, having poached eggs on an englis muffin. (No Potatoes, of course). It is said how we think low calories could possibly mean low sodium. I do almost all of my own cooking...I need a heart transplant and it is a matter of life and death. Put that shaker down, and eat at home fora better health for life. Read labels.....
Jan. 12, 2011 5:51 am
quaker oats (in the round canister), brown sugar, cinnamon...165cal...0 sodium and its filling too boot!!! have this with some fruit and your day starts out really good!
Jan. 12, 2011 7:19 am
this is trueee!!! my family used to cook with salt alot. then my mom went to the doctors and found out she had high BP and cholesterol. instantly she cut salt out of her diet and its been like that for 3 years with living with my mom and cooking for her i myself have stopped eating salt for 3 years and have gotten my fiance (who used to loveeee salt) to stop aswell! i never use it ever! its not needed. where theres salt in a recipe, if i can il substitute pepper. its healthier for you!!!!!!!
Jan. 12, 2011 8:26 am
Been as saltless as I can get since 1969. Sodium chloride IV solution when hospitalized in 2006 caused me to gain 60 lbs in THREE days! Wish they would take salt and sodium out of canned goods entirely. Let the people who want to poison themselves add it and leave the rest of us to eat in peace!
Jan. 12, 2011 8:45 am
so glad I returned to follow up on your blog, B'Nana. Awareness is key and I agree real herbs are a great alternative (you do not need to grow your own, but you can't beat fresh). Things like garlic/celery salt or even many powders are not herbs. I hope people do not sway from actual salt and start using more man made alternatives. If it came from the ground or ocean or if it eats from the ground or ocean, it is safer than if it came from a machine. Thanks for staying with this Nana.
Jan. 12, 2011 10:18 am
Society and the food industry have known about the dangers of high sodium for literally decades, but we STILL see high sodium products on the store shelves. WHY? Is it a lack of regulation? Certainly consumer pressure has not made the food industry voluntarily change. Isn't it time for some sort of government or regulatory change mandating MAXIMUM allowable sodium in processed foods? After all, the SAVINGS in health care costs, if we were all on lower sodium diets would be enormous. Why should those of us who WANT to eat a low sodium diet feel like we are fighting such a difficult uphill battle?
Jan. 12, 2011 11:22 am
This is a great blog, Baking Nana. I am a dietitian in a dialysis clinic and I tell my patients (and others) all the time that sea salt is still salt and is no healthier for you than regular table salt!
Jan. 12, 2011 1:46 pm
Cutting out sodium isn't going to make you lose weight. However, it's very important that we do it ANYWAY. Exess sodium, as mentioned above, causes hypertension and potassium deficiencies. Most Americans get a poisonous amount of sodium each day! All I'm trying to say is, it's a health thing. It's not a weight thing.
Jan. 12, 2011 1:47 pm
So many great comments - thank you all. @ kjkcooks thanks for reading through all the comments! That is a task! Your comment ... 'I believe that he is "addicted" to the salty, flavor-enhanced, greasy, fast food taste of his youth- just like millions of other people.' Rings true in our family as well. My husband sees Fast Food as a treat - I see it as torture. He was raised with FF and I was not. I think we will have several generations of FF / sodium loving people.
Jan. 12, 2011 1:52 pm
My husband and I have been working on the sodium thing since around summertime. It's awesome: we used to use a lot, but now that we've been cutting it out so much, just a tiny little bit makes a huge difference. Thanks for pointing out the sea salt thing, Laurita. Most products labeled "Sea Salt" are just bigger chunks of regular old table salt. That's the only real difference. "Pink Salt" is slightly more healthy than table salt... but it's STILL SALT.
Jan. 12, 2011 3:26 pm
In college, my freshman 15 was due to sodium! Once I realized how much was in my easy mac, ramen noodles, bowl appetite, lipton sides, and uncle ben's rice...I started using the salad bar at the cafeteria and was MUCH healthier! :) And while studying abroad in Spain, we had to ask our host mom to cook with less salt because we were getting white stains in our clothes when we sweat!
Jan. 12, 2011 4:53 pm
I've gone the low sodium way since my dearly beloved has been living with Congestive Heart Failure. Mrs. Dash has become one of my dearest friends. Neither my dearly beloved nor I like conventional salt substitutes, but I discovered a product on the super market shelf called Salt Sense made by Diamond Crystal. The way I understand it actually is salt, but something has been done to alter the shape of the crystals so that per volume you only get about 2/3 of the sodium. Instead of 2300 mg. in a teaspoon you only get 1560! I don't hesitate to add some to potatoes or pasta when cooking. Makes life a lot easier and tastier.
Jan. 12, 2011 8:25 pm
Sorry to be lagging behind - life gets in the way of my blogs - I have been reading each and everyone. Thank you all!
Jan. 12, 2011 8:28 pm
ndm726 - ramen is a HUGE offender! BUT - I think at one point or another we have all "lived" on it and survived. i am glad you found the salad bar!
Jan. 12, 2011 8:42 pm
LauriePat I agree - it would be easier to add salt to taste than to try to avoid it. I like plain frozen veggies for this reason.
Jan. 12, 2011 8:46 pm
Thank you redneck grandma - you are so very right.... 'If it came from the ground or ocean or if it eats from the ground or ocean, it is safer than if it came from a machine.' Man made chemicals cannot replace nature's offerings.
Jan. 12, 2011 8:50 pm
Mamaw - PHOSPHORIC ACID needs a blog all of it's own. Why 'we' consume this junk is beyond me! What really gets me as that kids are drinking this cr@p - so much for bone growth!.
Jan. 12, 2011 8:51 pm
OK - I am off to bed for tonight - please keep the comments coming. I love hearing all the input. :)
Jan. 12, 2011 10:22 pm
When I cook, I routinely add extra of other spices (usually half again as much, sometimes twice) and lower the salt to just a pinch. The results are flavorful without much sodium. And it's surprisingly hard to overdo most other spices! (Big exception: Cayenne pepper. More cayenne does not merely add to itself, it multiplies. Exponentially. Increase with caution.) Do others do this? And yeah, there's no way obesity is due to salt restriction. McDonalds alone proves that's false!
Jan. 13, 2011 11:10 am
I've always tried to feed my family healthy nutritious foods. For the past 6 - 8 months I've been doing lots of research on healthy eating, starting because a family member was diagnosed as "pre-diabetic" and the doctor said it can be slowed, stopped, reversed with diet and exercise alone. (At the 3 month follow-up, I had managed to get his numbers completely in line with diet changes only - he's too busy to exercise.) So I thought I knew a lot by now about healthy eating. Since January 3rd, I've been logging my food intake on Every Day Health's ( free Food & Fitness Journal because I have the ambition to lose 45 pounds, get healthier, and get off 2 of my medications. On the Journal, one sets goals (they give guide lines) and list the foods eaten every day. I have been amazed at how much sodium there is in most everything. Keeping sodium down to 1500 is really hard work. I don't get that low every day, but I am MUCH lower than I was before I started logging it all in the Journal! However, I only have time for all of this because the store where I worked closed for good in December, my kids are grown and married, and I am a stay-at-home wife. Journaling food takes time, but it is an eye opener. The Every Day Health journal is the easiest one to use that I have found, and even if I only do this for a couple of weeks, I'll have learned a lot more about eating healthy.
Jan. 13, 2011 12:12 pm
I am watching the sodium in the foods I eat. Even if I am eating too much and gaining weight, I still watch my sodium intake. I joined Weight Watchers, but their recipes do not have nutritional information. So I signed up here, but I didn't realize that sodium was not listed on the recipes. I guess I will have to look up the ingredients that most likely have sodium. I didn't realize the amount of sodium in some of the restaurant meals. Thank you for your article.
Jan. 13, 2011 1:57 pm
SharonC - thanks for the link ( I think you are right - if you journal it makes you aware and after a while it becomes second nature. It is work and takes time but so do most good things. :)
Jan. 13, 2011 2:07 pm
pbrooks5 - You can get all the nutritional information here - at the bottom of the recipe where it says "nutrition" click the + next to it and all the information will come up. Of course - the products you select could be different but it will give you a good idea of where you stand. :) Thanks for stopping in.
Jan. 13, 2011 2:11 pm
Yahtzee63 - good point about the cayenne! Thanks for stopping in.
Jan. 13, 2011 9:00 pm
Ugh, I am a recent heart transplant patient and I cannot eat anything that has over 200mg of sodium per serving. It is crazy how much sodium there is in processed foods! I could not eat anything in my house when I got home, had to go shopping so I could eat!!! (p.S Cheerios has 160mg of sodium per serving!)
Jan. 13, 2011 9:53 pm
BamCKY29 - Thanks for posting - stories like yours make the sodium issue very real. It is a sad commentary that it is more difficult to avoid sodium and other chemicals than it is to eat "fresh". I hope you are doing well - thanks for posting.
Jan. 14, 2011 12:29 am
BamCKY29 - You are absolutelu right Cheerios do have 160 mg sodium per 1 cup serving! The info I got was from and it does not match with the Cheerios website.... I will change my blog to reflect the correct information. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.
Jan. 18, 2011 9:01 am
Since my hubby has been on a sodium restricted diet Mrs. Dash has become my best friend. But even she cannot alleviate the blah taste of pasta and potatoes boiled without salt. Then I found Salt Sense on the supermarket shelf. This is actually salt but they have somehow altered the shape of the crystals so that you get less sodium measure for measure (about 1/3 less). So now I add just a tad to the water and it satisfies my taste buds.
Jan. 18, 2011 9:11 am
Generally I try to avoid canned foods but sometimes I compromise for the sake of convenience. I read the discussion on sodium alternatives and I believe the problem is that salt is not only a flavor enhancer but it’s also a preservative. When sodium is reduced, it has to be replaced with other, possibly more dangerous, preservatives. On numerous occasions I have chosen to buy the full-sodium version of a product because the low-sodium version had a list of ingredients in it that I couldn’t pronounce.
Feb. 3, 2011 11:31 am
To "Baking Nana" The reason you get cold after eating is because a large amount of blood goes to your digestive system to help process the food you just ate:) Not everyone has this problem but surprisingly enough I know several women that do!
Feb. 5, 2011 3:52 am
Lemon zest and/or juice can enhance flavors well when trying to reduce salt.
Dec. 29, 2012 2:02 am
Generally I try to avoid canned foods but sometimes I compromise for the sake of convenience. I read the discussion on sodium alternatives and I believe the problem is that salt is not only a flavor enhancer but it’s also a preservative. When sodium is reduced, it has to be replaced with other,If you end up with a facial fluid that only has a really small amount of the effective ingredients then it's going to be pretty useless. Look for a company that truly cares about your skin and that puts the optimum amount of each ingredient no matter the costs.
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Baking Nana

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About Me
Every morning my granddaughter calls and says, "Good morning Nana. Whatcha doing? Are you baking Nana?" Hence my name, Baking Nana. I love to bake bread and never get tired of it. Yeast is additive! Visit me at If you would like to contact me directly please use the 'Contact Me' on my site.
My favorite things to cook
I go through phases, Asian for a while then Italian then on to something else. I love experimenting with new flavors and different spices. Some times my husband will ask if we will ever have "ordinary" food again. Once in a while I have to toss him a burger just to keep quite! Actually, he is a good sport and my favorite taste tester.
My favorite family cooking traditions
In our family if it is your birthday you get to choose the menu. We have had some really interesting meals. In March we have 5 birthdays so we do one big party - what a crazy menu that is! Christmas dinner is very traditional. Sausage rolls, Prime Rib, Yorkshire Pudding, gravy, Green beans with bacon, Mashed Potatoes (the really fattening kind) and trifle for dessert. If I were to dare to omit any of those items I would be lynched.
My cooking triumphs
Mastering really great bread is probably my biggest triumph. I am always so pleased when I create a perfect Asian dish.
My cooking tragedies
There have been a few but none so horrible that I can't laugh about them now.
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